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Unbearable depth

The piano continues to amaze me: If it did not amaze the ears of Mozart, Schumann, Chopin, Schubert, Beethoven, Brahms, Bartok, et al, think how impoverished we would all be. Yet that amazement can only be intuited: it cannot actually be written down. We have to be on the lookout for it. Fearlessly, might I add.

Case in point: I know of at least three chamber works for piano with strings which begin with decidedly uncomfortable sounds – virtually untunable for strings, entirely unbearable together with piano. Why would those composers (specifically Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms) have used them if not to require attentiveness of an unusual depth, as if to challenge us: “I dare you to hear this!”

Is it bearable? Depends… Is it supposed to be? Depends…

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